“The LG SP9YA Soundbar turns any room into an immersive, Dolby Atmos-powered residence theater.”

Superior and immersive Dolby Atmos

Straightforward setup

Chromecast and AirPlay 2

Degree and EQ controls

Hello-res audio capabilities

Hardwired energy wire

No entry to community music libraries

Just one HDMI enter

LG has an excellent monitor document of constructing feature-loaded soundbars that additionally produce spectacular, room-filling sound. Its $1,000 SP9YA is the corporate’s newest effort on this area, persevering with the 9-Collection’ legacy of placing a ton of audio functionality (like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) into only one soundbar and one wi-fi subwoofer. For folk who need large, cinematic sound and a easy setup, it’s a lovely choice.

Curious to know what LG has modified with the brand new SP9YA and the way it performs? We’ve bought all the particulars proper right here.

What’s new?

The SP9YA picks up the baton from 2020’s SN9YG. Although the 2 merchandise are almost equivalent, LG has made two small however essential adjustments:

The SP9YA ditches the 9YG’s Google Assistant-based sensible speaker operate, although it stays Google Assistant-compatible.
The SP9YA is AirPlay 2-enabled, in addition to Chromecast-enabled. The 9YG solely supported Chromecast.

What’s within the field?

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Inside the large transport field — which makes use of totally recyclable supplies each in and out — you’ll discover the soundbar, a wi-fi subwoofer with an influence cable, two mounting brackets and screws, a wall-mount template, a distant management with AA batteries, an optical cable, and a few very primary quick-start paper supplies.

Why LG contains an optical cable however not an HDMI cable stays a thriller, however you will want one with the intention to get the absolute best audio out of your TV.

Design

Like its predecessors, the SP9YA is a giant, 48-inch-wide soundbar that may look nice sitting in entrance of a 50-inch or bigger TV, but it surely may simply dwarf a smaller display screen. Because of its comparatively quick stature (simply 2.24 inches tall), it’s unlikely to obscure the decrease portion of any TV, large or small.

LG has saved the brushed aluminum look of the highest floor on each the soundbar and the subwoofer, a sensible alternative in that it minimizes the looks of what’s a reasonably large set of audio system. The one factor that interrupts the in any other case seamless design are the round up-firing driver grilles. I choose Dolby Atmos soundbars that disguise these top drivers, just like the Sonos Arc and Vizio Elevate, however that’s actually a matter of non-public style.

A set of contact controls for quantity, energy, supply choice, play/pause, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi are conveniently positioned on the highest of the bar, however they’re barely noticeable. Actually, except the forward-facing LED show hidden behind the metallic grille (which dims however by no means completely turns off), the SP9YA virtually completely disappears in a darkened room.

The wi-fi subwoofer makes use of a front-firing design, which I discover usually outperforms down-firing models of the identical energy score.

My one concern is the soundbar’s hardwired energy wire — it may make some installations actually tough, particularly if you have to route the wire via cabinetry openings which are too small to accommodate the dimensions of the wall plug. Whereas LG’s TVs have removable energy cords if you happen to first take away a concealment panel, I see no method to do that with the SP9YA.

Inputs and outputs

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On the again of the SP9YA, you’ll discover simply 4 ports: A 4K/Dolby Imaginative and prescient-capable HDMI enter, an HDMI ARC/eARC output, an optical enter, and a USB port for storage-based music playback. I’d choose to see extra HDMI inputs at this value, and I’m stunned there’s no analog enter or Ethernet jack, however these aren’t deal-breakers.

Primary setup of the SP9YA is a breeze. Seize the distant and also you’re good to go for TV sound.

The excellent news is that, not like some soundbars that deal with the HDMI and optical inputs as a single enter (which means you need to use one or the opposite however not each), the SP9YA considers these ports as discrete inputs. You may connect a streaming media participant, cable field, or Blu-ray participant to the HDMI enter, when you use the optical port for an audio supply like a CD participant or a Sonos system. Every will be chosen as its personal supply, supplying you with a fairly respectable collection of linked gadgets.

Setup and configuration

Primary setup of the SP9YA is a breeze. Simply plug the soundbar into your TV through HDMI or optical cables, plug the wi-fi subwoofer into the wall, then do the identical with the soundbar, and switch it on. The soundbar and subwoofer routinely create a wi-fi connection, confirmed by a strong inexperienced gentle on the again of the sub. Seize the distant and also you’re good to go for TV sound.

Nonetheless, there’s a a lot deeper set of choices out there utilizing the distant in addition to the free LG Sound Bar app.

The very first thing you must take into account doing is utilizing the A.I. Room Calibration characteristic. The bar emits a sequence of take a look at tones over the course of some seconds, and the 2 built-in mics decide how your room’s acoustics have an effect on efficiency. Conveniently, the app helps you to hear earlier than and after sounds so you may determine which one is healthier. I didn’t discover a giant distinction however which may merely be a operate of the actual room I used to be utilizing.

At any time, you may swap the soundbar to Bluetooth mode and pair it with a telephone, pill, or different Bluetooth gadgets. However in order for you a number of higher audio choices and deeper settings, it’s price connecting the SP9YA to your Wi-Fi community.

When you do, you’ll have the ability to add the soundbar to Google House, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, use Spotify Join, after which stream audio to the system through Chromecast or AirPlay 2. I’ll focus on why this can be a must-do in a second.

Contemplating that the SP9YA gives Chromecast and Google Assistant compatibility, it’s superior that LG doesn’t drive you to finish the Wi-Fi setup from throughout the Google House app — one thing we’re seeing lots on Chromecast gadgets just like the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage. You may at all times add the SP9YA to the Google House app in order for you, but it surely’s as much as you.

Likewise, Apple’s AirPlay 2 is accessible as quickly as you connect with Wi-Fi — no further configuration wanted.

Ease of use

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

The SP9YA’s included distant is well-designed from an ergonomic standpoint — it’s snug to carry and straightforward to make use of — but it surely isn’t backlit, making it rather less simple to work in a darkish room.

In the event you’re linked to your TV through HDMI ARC/eARC, most TV remotes ought to have the ability to management the soundbar’s quantity and mute capabilities. I additionally discovered that streaming media gadgets linked to the soundbar’s HDMI enter may additionally management these capabilities (I attempted it with an Apple TV 4K and an Nvidia Protect TV). Usually, TVs linked through the optical cable received’t have the ability to management the soundbar’s quantity — until you personal an LG TV, wherein case enabling your TV’s Sound Sync choice ought to offer you this skill.

You should use the distant for superior capabilities, too: A four-way directional pad helps you to navigate deeper settings like speaker ranges. However the LG Sound Bar app is so good, I extremely suggest utilizing it for these superior settings as an alternative of the distant. It helps you to see all the out there channels (subwoofer, heart, aspect, overhead, and so forth.), together with slider controls for each.

The SP9YA is an extremely potent system for each films and music.

The one space the place usability is missing is music playback. As a Wi-Fi-connected speaker, there needs to be a strategy to entry your private media saved on a pc or arduous drive linked to your community, however the Sound Bar app lacks this feature and there’s no strategy to do it utilizing the distant management both.

On the identical time, if you wish to play music from a USB storage system, you’ll must navigate its contents through the distant management — the app can’t see or management that music.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

The SP9YA is an extremely potent system for each films and music. Once I’m not reviewing soundbars, my regular system is a Pioneer Dolby Atmos receiver linked to a 5.1.2 set of discrete audio system, together with ceiling-mounted audio system immediately over the listening space. The SP9YA is the primary soundbar I’ve examined that will get near this setup when it comes to immersion.

No, it’s not a direct substitute, however given its value and ease, it’s a really enticing different.

Dolby Atmos is the star of this present. I feel the soundbar does properly with all audio codecs, however if you happen to purchase the SP9YA, you owe it to your self to search for films on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or different sources which have an Atmos soundtrack.

Whether or not it’s high-speed automotive scenes in Mad Max: Fury Highway, Ford v Ferrari, or John Wick: Chapter 2, or the superhero motion in a Marvel film, the SP9YA has the sheer energy wanted to recreate movie show pleasure, whereas its height- and side-channel drivers ship convincing 3D results. The wi-fi sub does an excellent job delivering low-end bass which you could really feel in your chest, but it surely’s additionally a delicate efficiency that by no means overpowers the remainder of the soundtrack.

In the event you reside in a condominium or share a wall along with your neighbors, you may as properly invite them to observe with you as a result of they’re going to listen to and really feel these explosions, too.

Professional tip: Use the Sound Bar app to crank up the extent of the overhead channels. That is the important thing to listening to the sounds that make Atmos, properly, Atmos-y.

When taking part in Atmos content material, the optionally available sound impact settings (of which there are eight to select from) are inactive. However when taking part in non-Atmos audio, settings like Music, Cinema, or Recreation can profoundly have an effect on the sound you get. As an alternative of counting on LG’s labels by assuming that Cinema is greatest for films, I counsel you attempt all of them. LG’s AI Sound Professional setting is meant to routinely detect what sort of audio you’re listening to and decide one of the best setting accordingly, however I discovered it wasn’t at all times to my liking.

For example, Recreation mode proved to be a better option when streaming music than the precise Music setting. Likewise, the Bass Blast mode — meant to spice up low-frequencies — appeared to do the precise reverse.

Label quirkiness apart, I had no drawback getting the SP9YA to ship satisfying audio outcomes from TV reveals, films, and music. In the event you’ve been serious about a soundbar to enhance dialogus readability, the SP9YA is a strong alternative. I discovered speech to be very intelligible even with the default settings, and I used to be capable of make it extra pronounced with each the Clear Voice mode and by boosting the middle channel output.

For music, I can’t suggest utilizing Wi-Fi strongly sufficient. Bluetooth is useful for when you’ve company over they usually need to shortly play one thing from their telephones, however for pure audio high quality, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are orders of magnitude higher than Bluetooth.

Our take

LG’s SP9YA delivers wonderful immersive sound from a single soundbar and subwoofer, making it one of many best methods to get pleasure from Dolby Atmos films and music at residence.

Is there a greater different?

Discovering a direct different to the LG SP9YA is hard. Not many soundbars supply a full 5.1.2 channel configuration from a single speaker plus subwoofer.

The $799 Sonos Arc is nice for Dolby Atmos and a extra versatile alternative general, as it may well double as an Alexa or Google Assistant sensible speaker along with providing one of the best streaming music and multiroom capabilities within the business. However you may solely use it with a Sonos Sub — a really costly $699 wi-fi speaker. That combo places you properly over the SP9YA’s $1,000 value. The Arc additionally lacks an HDMI enter, making it much less handy for these with numerous HDMI supply gadgets.

The $1,000 Vizio Elevate might be one of the best comparability. It has wonderful Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound and probably the greatest soundbar remotes, however you’ll have to deal with the additional encompass audio system, that are hardwired to the wi-fi subwoofer. It’s additionally a better option for films than for music — there’s no help for lossless hi-res audio or Apple AirPlay 2.

We haven’t reviewed Samsung’s new $1,300 2021 HW-Q900A 7.1.2 soundbar but, however given its specs and our critiques of earlier Samsung soundbars, it may very well be the SP9YA’s hardest competitor.

How lengthy will it final?

Audio gear like soundbars are likely to final for a few years. They don’t get moved round a lot after they’re put in, and warmth buildup (the reason for many electronics failures) is never an issue. The one unknown is how lengthy LG will proceed to maintain the SP9YA up to date with new software program. It ought to nonetheless work effective with out updates for TV audio, however some options, like AirPlay streaming, may lose help over the long run. LG backs the SP9YA with a regular one-year guarantee.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. In the event you’re able to make the leap into immersive Dolby Atmos audio and have entry to streaming films or music that use this 3D format, the LG SP9YA is a unbelievable alternative.

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